Converged authentication: a win for businesses and a win for customers

Frans Labuschagne, Country Manager UK and Ireland at Entersekt

Mobile devices have become part of everyday life. In fact, in many industries, the world isn’t going mobile – it’s already there. Being “mobile first” these days is no longer a competitive advantage – it’s pretty much a given. Organisations all over the world are adopting mobile strategies to reach the end-user with greater ease and improve their experience. As such, designing a digital service that causes the user as little friction as possible has become the top priority for businesses.

While users don’t want to be burdened with clumsy authentication processes, they do like the sense of reassurance that giving permission to complete or cancel an action or transaction gives them. When asked in IBM Security’s recent Future of Identity study about what they value most in a banking app, seven times more respondents chose security (76%) than over convenience (11%). Similarly, research by RSA found that 93% of digital users in the US want to be involved in choosing how their accounts are protected online, even if this causes additional friction.

The best of both worlds

Offering two independent, out-of-band authentication factors on a single mobile device represents a golden mean:providing a real-time response to an out-of-band push notification from the bank or other organisation is quick and painless for the user, but this simple moment of intelligent friction assures them that they have final control over what happens to their money or sensitive data. Trust is the foundation of any digital services relationship with its customers, and authentication interactions like these help to build trust. This, in turn, leads to more transactions and the adoption of more services, which ultimately leads to greater revenue for the organisation.

Strong and transparent mobile authentication is not just about letting the right people and devices in, while keeping the wrong ones out – it’s also about establishing trust between your organisation and its end-users.And this is where converged authentication comes in: the funneling together of all the channels and experiences you want to offer your customers at a single, secure authentication point. With a trusted device in the user’s hand and a secure channel in place between that device and your organisation’s servers, there’s no limit to the innovative functionalities you can offer. Trusted document signing, inventive reward schemes or controlled access to sensitive data records – these are all touch points that help your brand gain visibility and earn your users’ confidence.

A springboard for success

With converged authentication in place as a secure foundation, the possibilities for offering innovative new services are limitless. Users can gain access to your app or website using not a password, but a single touch to the fingerprint reader on their device. Your ecommerce checkout process can be simpler and more secure, with the shopper simply receiving a prompt on their mobile device to authorise an online or mobile purchase.Your call centre can be enhanced to offer a safer and more pleasant user experience, since, with mobile multi-factor authentication, your users aren’t vulnerable to vishing (voice phishing) of their sensitive information. There’s no need to make use of time-consuming knowledge-based authentication methods, like passwords or security questions, to confirm the user’s identity. A quick tap to approve a push authentication request is all it takes for your user to access their account securely.

Times are changing, and the brave new digital world we live in requires organisations to put their brand experience right in the user’s hands. Organisations the world over are investing heavily in mobile platforms, but if users perceive their brand experience as insecure or clumsy, they can – and will – move on to something better.Converged authentication uses the power of mobile to help companies build a relationship of trust with their customers. And in an increasingly competitive space, this relationship is the best guarantee that the customer will remain loyal.

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